Politics

Bill Clinton throws Obama under the bus

Bill Clinton throws Obama under the bus

Or maybe it’s all part of some elaborate political kabuki theater.  At least on the surface, Clinton appears to have significantly complicated Obama’s position during a generally supportive interview with Ozy.com, in which he said of the current President’s infamous “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” lie: “I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the President should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.”

Maybe this is Clinton’s way of nudging Obama toward effective damage control.  (Or maybe he’s dropping a lifeboat in the water to help Hillary escape from the Titanic before it goes completely under the waves.”

As Fox News reports, the White House initially seemed to welcome Clinton’s remarks, but later things got more complicated, and the welcome mat started to unravel:

[White House spokesman Jay] Carney referred to Obama’s comments to NBC News last week, when the president apologized for the cancellation notices and said the administration was looking at a “range of options” to address the issue.

But Carney spoke in additional detail on Tuesday, saying the president’s team is specifically trying to help those Americans who have been forced off their plans into more expensive coverage which they might struggle to afford.

“The president has tasked his team with looking at a range of options, as he said, to make sure that nobody is put in a position where their plans have been canceled and they can’t afford a better plan, even though they’d like to have a better plan,” Carney said.

It’s unclear, though, how the administration could go about doing that. Insurance companies are the ones canceling policies — due to new requirements under the health care overhaul — and would likely have to be involved in any effort to restore coverage.

Mark Knoller of CBS News tried to make sense of Carney’s tortured statements on the official White House position, and had to be rolled off to therapy in full Hannibal Lecter safety garb.  Other reporters attempting to get a straight answer from Team Obama would be well advised to make sure their insurance plans have not been canceled, lest they require medication afterwards.

Thorny questions about just how doomed insurance plans could be rescued occur to me when I hear Republican proposals to restore the “if you like your plan” promise, too.  It’s a bit late to help an awful lot of ObamaCare victims.  And the stark reality is that rubbing the legislative shock paddles together and jolting these older, better, cheaper plans to life will destroy the insurance companies forced to accept older and sicker patients under ObamaCare.

One such rescue plan is the House’s “Keep Your Health Plan Act,” introduced by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).  Upton has been strongly encouraging President Obama to support his plan.  In this case, “strong encouragement” sounds a bit like taunting.  ”Actions speak louder than words,” said Upton.  ”If the President is serious about offering relief to Americans whose health plans are being canceled, then he should strongly support the Keep Your Health Plan Act.  This bill is a simple solution that would begin to restore health care peace of mind. Rather than another regulatory patch or holiday weekend blog post the president ought to embrace the bipartisan call for legislative action to allow Americans to keep the health plans they know and like, and can afford.”

Roll Call says that Upton’s plan might win support from at least one top House Democrat: Minority Whip Steny Hoyer.

 “I don’t know what I’m gonna do on the Upton bill,” the Maryland Democrat said at a Tuesday briefing with reporters when discussing legislation sponsored by Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich.

Hoyer noted that he was “inclined not to be for the Upton bill at this time,” but he emphasized that he was “not closed to the option,” and would “reserve judgment” until he had seen the legislative text, which is reportedly undergoing some tweaks.

“I agree that people who purchased their policies prior to [the law's enactment date] ought to be able to keep their policies,” he said.

For those who have trouble keeping their ObamaCare con artists straight, Hoyer is the one who recently admitted Democrats knew a ton of people would be losing their insurance plans all along.  But of course, he thinks that just means Obama’s message “was not precise enough.”  Yes, that’s pathetic, but remember, these people run your life now.

Not surprisingly, Republicans have been pouncing on Bill Clinton’s support for something along the lines of the Keep Your Health Plan Act.  ”I applaud President Clinton for joining the bipartisan call for President Obama to keep his promise to the American people,” said House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).  ”These comments signify a growing recognition that Americans were misled when they were promised that they could keep their coverage under President Obama’s health care law. The entire health care law is a train wreck that needs to go. And while the two parties may disagree on that point, it shouldn’t stop reasonable Democrats from working with us to shield Americans from its most egregious consequences – like the millions of current health plans being canceled.”

Boehner went on to encourage bipartisan support for Upton’s bill.  That’s going to sound increasingly appealing to nervous Democrats looking at a bloodbath in 2014.  In fact, Dana Bash of CNN claims House Democrats have a “de facto deadline” of this Friday for the White House to roll out some fixes, or else they’ll get behind Upton’s plan.

All of which continues the polite fiction that this tidal wave of insurance cancellations – with an even greater tsunami yet to come – is a “bug” in the program, an unanticipated consequence of ObamaCare.  In truth, the Affordable Care Act was designed to kill insurance policies – those brutal “grandfathering” regulations didn’t write themselves.  The system simply will not work if a “fix” to prevent large-scale cancellations of pre-ObamaCare policies is implemented.  The preferred White House “fix” will likely involve dramatically increasing the subsidies for those super-expensive new Affordable Care Act plans, which amounts to yet another raid on the taxpayers; Obama will buy gifts with other people’s money to make victims of his policy feel better.  That could triple the cost of subsidies, according to some estimates, which is money this beyond-broke government does not have… and which, of course, ObamaCare’s authors swore we wouldn’t have to spend.

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